With the new year comes new dietary choices. If you have decided to recommit to healthy eating, why not add some color to your resolutions? Eating healthy doesn’t need to be dull. Below are four foods that are visually intriguing while still being nutritiously beneficial.
Who knew that the slimey underwater plant that unnervingly brushes across your feet in the ocean would taste so good? This deep green treat is packed with fiber, iron and calcium and can be roasted, fried, pickled or steamed. Some people even eat it raw. Seaweed is used to wrap sushi, thicken sauces and to top dishes. Its flavor profile ranges from delicate and mild to sweet and savory.
*Seaweed can also be red, purple, brown and black.
Spirulina is a microalgae that touts an impressive blue-green hue. Because of its long list of vitamins and nutrients that include protein, B12 and calcium, this superfood has gained traction amongst the health community. For some, it has an acquired taste that can be described as earthy or sulfuric. Spirulina fans add its powder form to just about anything, but its most notably added to smoothies and vegan ice cream (affectionately known as nicecream).
- Edible Flowers
Much to our parents disapproval, many of us experimented with eating plants or grass as children. It’s no secret that the majority of wildflowers and blossoms found in the plant sections should not be consumed. Some variations are toxic or covered in pesticides, but some flowers are edible. Increasingly, chefs are revisiting an old tradition of using flowers to create plated art for a memorable wow factor. However, culinary professionals never plate items that cannot be eaten, so here are a few flowers that make the cut.
Culinary Lavender (mint family): Has a floral flavor and can be paired with other herbs for a savory dish, or used alone for garnish or steeped for tea.
Roses (closely related to apricot family): Rose petals have a fragrant flavor and can be used for rose bud tea, salads and candy.
Violets: Blue and white violets are frequently adorn desserts but can be used in a wide variety of dishes. Violets have a sweet and tart taste and have been known to have medicinal properties.
- Dragon Fruit (Pitaya or Strawberry Pear)
Dragon Fruit is a magical looking tropical fruit with a bright pink exterior. The white flesh found inside is freckled with small black seeds and has a very mild sweetness. Texture wise, dragon fruit lies somewhere between a kiwi and a pear. It boasts a high level of fiber, magnesium and vitamin C. Dragon fruit can commonly be grilled or cut and added to foods like smoothie bowls, yogurt and salads. This fruit can be expensive and some people claim that its appearance is more appetizing than its taste, but it’s worth a try.
*Dragon fruit can also be red and yellow
Growing up, our parents always told us not to play with our food. But with snacks as beautiful as these, it’s hard not to. Next time you visit your local market, check for natural foods that catch your eye. Enjoy your health and continue to intrigue your palate with fun foods.